Kudu Hunting

Kudu hunting is nearly always the first trophy for a hunting safari in Africa. Indigenous to the Eastern Cape South Africa, kudu occurs in significant numbers. We offer several kudu hunting packages.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for Kudu hunting
Shot placement for Kudu hunting

Kudu Hunting Cost

Priced at around $1500, a Kudu Trophy is nearly always included in a plains game hunt
Kudu trophy hunted in the Eastern Cape South Africa

Priced at around $1500, a Kudu Trophy is nearly always included in a plains game hunt.  South African Hunting Package deals that include a kudu have a price range of around $4000 – $7000 for 7 trophies. 

SpeciesPrice
Kudu$450
Kudu price

All-Inclusive $4500 Starter Plains Game Package for 7 trophies and 8 days hunting. (Inclusive of a Kudu Trophy)

  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Wildebeest
  • Springbok
  • Blesbok
  • Warthog
  • Mountain Reedbuck

The Kudu in Pictures

The common name kudu is derived from the indigenous Khoikhoi language of Southern Africa.
Herds of over 20 usually split up into smaller groups. Young cows remain with their mothers' unit, but young bulls form bachelor groups when they reach sexual maturity, normally at two years.
Some of the best kudu hunting methods include stalking their feeding areas early in the morning or ambushing the bulls as they return from cover and on higher grounds.
Greater kudus are found extensively throughout Southern Africa, in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zambia, and even further north in Tanzania, Kenya, and parts of Angola.
Kudu is highly alert and notoriously hard to approach. When they detect danger – often using their large, radar-like ears – they give a hoarse alarm bark, then flee.
They can be found in an extensive habitat range, including hilly areas, slopes of mountains with trees, woodlands, bush thickets, riverine areas, bushveld, and wooded savannah areas.
Horn lengths in the low 50's are fairly common; 55 inches and over can be considered a perfect trophy, and 60 inches and over is exceptional.
Like many other antelopes, male kudu can be found in bachelor groups, but they are more likely to be solitary. Their dominance displays tend not to last long and are generally fairly peaceful, consisting of one male making himself look big by making his hair stand on end.
The magnificent horns are spread in beautiful open spirals.
The Great kudu is a large antelope with tawny coloring and thin, white, sparse vertical stripes.

Interesting Facts

  • The kudu or ‘koodoo’ is the Khoisan name given to this antelope.
  • The kudu can jump six-foot-high fences from a standing position, and when fleeing from danger, they can clear obstacles as high as 10 feet.
  • When two kudu bulls are equally matched a fight may ensue.
  • Fights would take the form of lunging, horn clashes, and wrestling with locked horns, and the latter may result in the death of both animals when their horns become locked together in the battle.
  • There are twice as many adult female kudus than there are males.
  • This is due to greater predation of the bulls and deaths at the end of the breeding season caused by exhaustion, malnutrition, and injury.
The kudu or ‘koodoo’ is the Khoisan name given to this antelope.
  • If a kudu is frightened by a predator or during kudu hunting and breaks cover, it will run and then turn to see the threat and then freeze, allowing its camouflage to take effect.
  • While kudu bulls become sexually mature at three years old, they can’t compete with the older males to access the females until they are 6 to 8 years old.
  • Kudu is notoriously alert and hard to approach and can point individual ears in different directions to help detect threats that may be nearby.
  • Some plants, notably acacias, will increase the amount of bitter-tasting tannin in their leaves.
  • This happens within 15 minutes of an animal browsing, and as a result, kudu has learned to move onto the next plant after only a short time of feeding.
  • Kudu give a hoarse alarm bark when they flee.
  • The Eastern Cape Kudu is considered a subspecies of the Greater Kudu.
The Eastern Cape Kudu is considered a subspecies of the Greater Kudu.

Difference Between Male and Female

The difference between a male and female kudu is that the female does not have horns and is smaller and lighter than the male with very prominent ears. Also, they have no beard or nose markings.

Males drinking at a waterhole during the dry season. Males have spectacular horns while the females do not.
Kudu Males or Kudu Bulls drinking at a waterhole during the dry season
Females drinking at a waterhole during the dry season. Females do not have horns.
Kudu females or cows drinking at a water hole

About the Kudu

Like many other antelope, male kudu can be found in bachelor groups, but they are more likely to be solitary.

Wounded bulls, on infrequent occasions, have been known to charge the attacker. They hit the attacker with their sturdy horn base rather than stabbing it.

Wounded Kudu can keep running for many miles without stopping to rest for more than a minute.

Kudu bulls tend to be much larger than females.

The bulls also have large manes running along the underside of their necks. The horns, were they straightened, would reach an average length of 45 inches. 

The bulls also have large manes running along the underside of their necks. The horns, were they straightened, would reach an average length of 45 inches.

The kudu is a browser and feeds on various leaves of trees and shrubs indigenous to South Africa.

They also feed on various fruits, pods, and creepers during different seasons.

The kudu is also known to eat South African succulents such as spekboom or bacon tree and aloes. 

New-born calves aged 4-6 weeks old are hidden away and nursed by their mothers who visit.

Kudu usually is active in the morning and late afternoon. In developed or under pressure from hunting, kudu has learned to become nocturnal to avoid humans.

In developed areas or under pressure from hunting, kudu has learned to become nocturnal to avoid humans.

Kudu Hunting in the Eastern Cape

Vital organs showing the position of the heart and lungs. Horns in the Eastern Cape should be 43 - 47 inches.
Kudu vital organs for shot placement.

Your Eastern Cape kudu bull trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 54 inches, weigh about 340 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 43 – 47 inches.

The minimum score under Safari Club International for an Eastern Cape kudu is 98. Add the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases to get your score SCI score.

Kudu is always one of the first animals on any hunter’s list. A genuinely graceful and beautiful trophy.

Bulls can be tough to hunt throughout the year. Be prepared for long stalks and plenty of failed stalks.

Kudu have fantastic eyesight, and the nickname “Grey Ghost” is for a good reason; a kudu can vanish into thin air.

Kudu have fantastic eyesight, and the nickname "Grey Ghost" is for a good reason; a kudu can vanish into thin air.

It’s rare for a hunter to shoot a kudu on the first stalk. You may well have to take a more extended shot to get your trophy kudu, although not always. 

Kudu is indigenous to the Eastern Cape South Africa and occurs in a significant number.

The kudu tends to browse in the early morning and late afternoon, usually resting during the heat of the day.

Like many antelope species, these majestic animals form family groups of approximately ten individuals.

They mostly consist of cows and calves, as well as young bulls.

The mature bulls only join the herd during the mating season. Kudu hunting often involves stalking a lone bull.

The mature bulls only join the herd during the mating season. Kudu hunting often involves stalking a lone bull.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Calibre

Kudu hunting - trophy hunted in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Kudu are included in most of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.
Hunting Kudu – trophy hunted in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Kudu is included in most of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.

Kudu Hunting Rifle Calibre

Hunting kudu with less than 7mm would not be recommended.

For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle into South Africa, Nick Bowker Hunting has available a Sako carbon light 300 Winchester Magnum fitted with a suppressor.

Mounted on the rifle is a Swarovski DS with a built-in rangefinder.

We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X 200 grain ammunition. The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

As with most African animals, shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder. 

The Eastern Cape Kudu has smaller horns than their cousin, the Southern Greater Kudu.

The minimum SCI score for a Southern Greater Kudu is 121.

Eastern Cape but costs substantially more.

Kudu Hunting Trophy Judgement

Southern Greater Kudu is available in fenced areas in the Eastern Cape but costs substantially more.

Eastern Cape Kudu boasts a much darker coat than that of its cousin, the Southern Greater Kudu, and at times the males will carry an imposing, impressive beard running down the front of the neck.

From late March to June or even July, bulls will lose fear for open country and travel great distances searching for females during the rut.

Judging the trophy quality of kudu bulls can be very difficult at times. Always ensure the shapes of the horns are wide and symmetrical with good shape and white tips.

Consider the depth of the curls as this is where the real hidden length lies. Any mature bull is an impressive trophy and the pride of many kudu hunters around the world.

Any mature bull is an impressive trophy and the pride of many kudu hunters around the world.

References:

Smithers, RHN, 1983. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 1st edn. University of Pretoria, CTP

Book Printers, Cape Town.

Focus on the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Deon Furstenburg, GEO WILD Consult (Pty) Ltd.

Wikipedia.com, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudu

https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/mammals/greater-kudu

https://www.safaribookings.com/blog/greater-kudu-facts

https://www.africansky.com/african-travel/south-africa/destinations/national-parks/kruger-park/mammals/kudu

https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/kudu

http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_kudu.html

http://www.wildlifesouthafrica.com/blog/mammals-of-south-africa/kudu-fact-file